“Extremely frustrating and sad for her. She is more introverted, withdraws from conversations and does not interact appropriately in social situations”
“At times frustrating and at times irritating. TV is too loud. Need for constant repetition. Need to relay information to him often. Asks me to tell him what people said. I worry about his job and people thinking he does not care.”
“She is no longer engaged in family discussions because she does not hear well.”
These are a sample of responses to a questionnaire we have friends or family members complete when they accompany their friend or loved one to our office. Answers to these questionnaires have been enlightening. Without exception, family and friends report negative emotions including increased frustration, miscommunication, annoyance and irritation. They go on to say that they worry about their friend or loved one becoming socially isolated, cut off and depressed. They miss the person they knew before the hearing loss.
When asked “If your friend or loved one’s hearing was improved, how would things be different for you?” the responses were equally enlightening. Here are some responses.
“I couldn’t even begin to describe… Could have normal low anxiety conversations”
“It would be nice to not have to repeat myself and she would be more relaxed because she clearly heard the first time.”
“Less stressful to everyone that comes in contact with him.”
‘I would be so pleased for him firstly!!. TV lower, whispers in his ear, less frustrating and calmer”
Clearly, hearing loss affects not only the individual but everyone who interacts with him or her. It affects the entire family and can cause significant dysfunction. The number of individuals with hearing loss is increasing which means more and more families and friends are struggling with hearing related problems.
If you are having trouble with understanding conversational speech, or someone you care about does, it affects everyone and makes living more challenging. Seeking treatment is the first step so that everyone can live less stressful and more involved lives.